Oldsmar’s Jim Ronecker becomes 12th candidate running for Susan Latvala’s seat

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Now there are twelve.

Former Oldsmar Mayor Jim Ronecker announced on Tuesday he is running for Pinellas County Commission District 4, becoming the eighth Republican and twelfth active candidate in the race.

District 4 has been represented since 2000 by Commissioner Susan Latvala, who announced in February her retirement at the end of the term. The seat covers Safety Harbor and the North Pinellas communities of Dunedin, Palm Harbor, East Lake, Tarpon Springs, and Oldsmar.

First elected to the Oldsmar City Council in 2003; Ronecker served as Mayor from 2007 to 2013. He also owns commercial printing and graphics firm On Demand Printing, which made a splash in 2012 by printing a series of postcards for the Mitt Romney campaign using “augmented reality” technology, which allows videos to appear on printed materials.

“I have been involved and followed what has been happening in Pinellas County for a long time,” Ronecker said in a statement announcing his campaign. “I believe this County needs more of my small business person’s perspective, experience and first-hand knowledge.”

Pointing to a long list of accomplishments, Ronecker twice led the effort to reduce Oldsmar’s millage rate taxes. He also played a key role in Oldsmar building a state-of-the-art reverse osmosis water-treatment plant, the largest infrastructure project in its history.

The 30-year Pinellas County resident also served as past chair of the Upper Tampa Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, on the Tampa Bay Regional Planning and the Pinellas Metropolitan Planning Organization representing Oldsmar, Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs. He also chairs the 2014 Relay for Life of Oldsmar/Safety Harbor.

“Public safety is government’s #1 priority and we need to make sure that we have the very best for our sheriff’s department and fire rescue service members,” Ronecker said. “Countywide, we need to collectively come together and work on long-term solutions to the problems we face today and in the future.”

Ronecker will join seven other Republicans vying for Latvala’s seat, including Dunedin Mayor Dave Eggers; former state Representative Peter Nehr; Wanda Kimsey, who was a former assistant to retired Pinellas Commissioner Bob Stewart; retired pediatric dentist Johnny Johnson Jr.; Largo firefighter Macho Liberti; data analyst Scott Fisher and small business owner Timothy Keffalas.

Making up the rest of the congested field are two Democrats — Jack McAdoo and Mark Weinkrantz — as well as Carl Folkman and Marcus Harrison, who are both running with No Party Affiliation.

“I look forward to engaging with my fellow residents and letting them know that my mission remains the same,” Ronecker said. “Use a common sense approach to government, have no hidden agendas and use my business leadership experience to make good decisions for the improvement of our quality of life and for our children and our children’s children.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.